Texas cities worry about flooding

2015-05-28 17:18
The Blanco River flows past a road around Umphery Ranch located between Wimberley and San Marcos, Texas. (Gabe Hernandez, Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

The Blanco River flows past a road around Umphery Ranch located between Wimberley and San Marcos, Texas. (Gabe Hernandez, Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

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Houston - Many Texas cities remain in danger though a barrage of deadly thunderstorms has tapered, as officials warn about the possibility of more flooding from rain-swollen rivers.

The storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma this week have left at least 21 people dead and about a dozen others missing.

In suburban Houston, the rains have pushed the San Jacinto River above flood stage, and its waters were expected to cover streets in subdivisions along the west fork of the river, possibly stranding people in their homes for days if they don't leave.

In Wharton, about 80km southwest of Houston, the mayor asked residents to voluntarily evacuate about 300 homes on the west side of the city due to the predicted rise of the Colorado River. In the Parker County town of Horseshoe Bend in North Texas, officials asked about 250 residents to leave their homes as the Brazos River was expected to rise above its flood stage of 6.4m on Thursday.

Meanwhile, in Central Texas, crews continued searching for nine people feared dead after the swollen Blanco River smashed through Wimberley, a small tourist town between San Antonio and Austin, over the Memorial Day weekend.

In Houston, residents whose homes were flooded by torrential rains on Monday and Tuesday also continued their clean-up efforts.

While the Houston area got a respite from rainy weather for most of Wednesday, the heavy rains from earlier in the week were still making their way downstream. By late Wednesday, the San Jacinto was at 15m, nearly one metre above its flood stage, said Kim Jackson, a spokesperson for the Harris County Flood Control District.

In Houston, between 800 and 1 400 homes have already been damaged by the flooding. Thousands of homes were also damaged or destroyed in the central Texas corridor that includes Wimberley — 744 of them in San Marcos alone.

This has been the wettest month on record for Texas, even with several days left. The state climatologist's office said Wednesday that Texas has gotten an average of 19.15cm of rain in May, breaking the old record of 16.92cm, set in June 2004.

While rain is in the forecast the next couple of days for many of the affected areas, the chances for showers are greater during the weekend.

Read more on:    us  |  weather  |  flooding

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